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Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Introduction to Leadership in Anxious Congregations, August 23, 2008
This review is from: Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What (Paperback)
Peter Steinke, ELCA pastor, author, scholar, and church consultant is currently the leading researcher in Bowen Family Systems theory. This latest book, "Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times," is written for pastors and other congregational leaders with the hope that the information contained with both enlighten and embolden them (xi). The brief book (175 pages) is divided into three sections: "The Leader's Presence," "The Leader's Functioning," and "The Leader's Challenges."

While this present book provides little new information per se on applying the Bowen Theory to religious leadership, the information is presented in an interesting, enlightening way. Steinke's style of writing is simple without being simplistic. He breaks information down into small, easily-digestible parts...yet never comes across as "talking down" to the reader.

Bowen Theory places a great deal of emphasis on strong, independent-minded-yet-connected leaders. The trick (according to Rev. Rick Foss in the foreword) is to practice excellent leadership consistently. Steinke draws upon his vast experience as a church consultant and researcher to provide examples of a leader's effect on a congregation (positive and negative), pitfalls, and the complex emotional process that can help or hinder leadership.

This book would be ideal for congregational leaders (ordained, contracted, or elected) as both a work of inspiration and a launching point for more research in the leadership genre. Indeed, this book's main contribution is that it provides and easy entry-point into the Family Systems Theory.

While it is recommended for those without much experience in Bowen Theory, those who have digested the works of Ed Friedman may not find much new...even through they might find much to inspire.
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